I have a passion for animals. I enjoy researching and writing educational articles to help dog and cat owners become better pet parents.
Simply stated, kittens are adorable! Even if you are not an animal lover, you must admit that kittens are cute little balls of fluff!
Unfortunately, kittens have a high mortality rate—about 25 percent. Therefore, proper kitten care is oh-so-important if you want a healthy, well-adjusted pet! Why is the kitten mortality rate so high? Well, let me tell you! The most common kitten killers are bacterial and viral infections, hypothermia, parasites, and birth defects.
I have raised my share of kittens (I fostered the mom and her five babies shown below for the SPCA, among other cats), so I understand how to properly care for them. Below are some of the most common kitten-related questions that I am asked. If you have a question for me, don't hesitate to ask (simply type it in the comment section below).
My Kitten's Eyes Are Blue! Will They Stay Blue?
As beautiful as blue is, most likely, your kitten's eyes will change color. All kittens are born with blue eyes (however, you won't be able to see their baby blues for a few days as they are born with their eyes closed!).
For the first seven to 13 days, they depend on smell and, of course, mom in order to survive. When your kitten is about one month old, his or her eyes will begin to change color from blue to, well, any number of shades (iridescent green, gold, amber, or yellow-gold, or it is possible that they will stay blue or change to a new shade of blue).
At about three months of age, what you see is what you get as the permanent color has most likely settled in at this point. It is interesting to note that a kitten's eye color is genetically related to his or her coat color. Who knew!?
When Is It Safe to Take a Kitten Away From Mom?
This is a great question (as well as an important one). Many kittens are taken from their moms way too soon. When this happens, the kitten misses out on valuable life lessons! Kittens should stay with their mother and siblings for at least 10 to 12 weeks. Good cat breeders will not allow a kitten to be taken from its mother until it has reached this age range.
Why? Well, just as your mom taught you valuable life skills, a mother cat teaches her babies. Kittens learn how to use the toilet (think litter box), socialization skills (how to play nicely with other cats), and even how to eat out of a dish properly! If you take a kitten away from its mother too soon, there is a good chance that it will have developmental issues.
Besides, if you wait for the appropriate amount of time before taking your new fur-ball home, you will save on medical expenses, as most likely you will get a kitten that has already been de-wormed, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated. Just remember, though it is exciting to get a new kitten, be patient and allow mama to do her job!
My Kitten Has Fleas! What Can I Do?
Well, unfortunately, not much. Flea treatments cannot be used on kittens because the chemicals can harm them.
- The best thing you can do is buy a stainless steel flea comb and gently comb each kitten in order to remove as many fleas as possible. I know this can be a slow process. However, until the kittens are older, there isn't much more you can do.
- If you wish, you can give your baby a sponge bath using warm water and Dawn Dish Washing Soap (fleas hate Dawn). Simply wet down your kitten very carefully with the soap-and-water mixture, and then gently comb him with the special flea comb. Be sure to rinse the kitten completely and never put his or her head under water! It is also very important that you dry the kitten(s) completely!
If the kittens you are caring for have a major flea infestation, take them to the vet as fleas can suck the blood (and life) right out of a kitten. If you are only dealing with a few fleas and the kitten's health does not seem to be affected, comb, wash, and keep an eye on it!
Caring for a kitten is relatively easy, especially if an attentive, loving mother cat is involved! Mother cats take very good care of their babies and will look after their every need, including feeding, bathing, and staying warm. They even stimulate them in order to make them go to the bathroom!
If you are currently caring for a kitten and it appears to be lethargic or not eating, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible as the mortality rate for newborn kittens is very high! Kittens are adorable and loving little balls of fur that, if cared for properly, grow up to be loving and adorable cats! Meow!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Mariah on June 14, 2019:
Good info!!!! Very helpful
Kyile on July 16, 2018:
bookpaw on June 22, 2018:
i have a kitten with the nice looking fur it is black with sun burst orange on her paw
Karl on July 15, 2017:
How long does it take to get a kitten to adjust to new food? She has been treated for worms and the vet says she does not have them any more. She still gets diarrhea and the vet gave us an oral medicine for the diarrhea and id did not do much. So the vet prescribed food made by Science diet and we have to give her carbon pills. It has been 3 days on the new food and carbon pills and still has diarrhea.
Jennifer on July 07, 2017:
My cat just had one kitten and was caring for it but now after continuous meowing and attention getting tricks, I agreed to let her outside. She was so insistent! Anyway, I thought she just had to use the bathroom, so I let her out. Now she has been gone several hours.,Is she coming back? What do I do? What about her kitten!?
Lisa Wilson on June 08, 2017:
1 out of a litter of 3 kittens, has bright blue eyes. Is it going to be blind ir deaf? It acts a little funny but nothing too out of the ordinary.
jamie on November 17, 2016:
are orange tabby kittens orange at birth
Adrian on October 20, 2016:
I had to take my kitten away from her mom around 8 weeks, is that okay? The home she was in she was not in the best situation. The kids would throw her against the wall, and even choke her. I couldn't take anymore of it, so I collected my kitten and left. She's going on 10 weeks now.
Adam D on October 16, 2016:
You mentioned if I have any questions, go ahead and ask. We found two kittens (already took to vet). They are healthy and we are taking care of them. They are now roughly 4 weeks old. I've taken care of them for a week. One of them is a loving little fur ball. And the other loves to suck on my finger. However,
he also digs in my hand with his nails, getting very excited and it hurts. At what Age can we teach him no? And also how do we teach "no"? Any info would help!
Alyssa on October 03, 2016:
Actually not all cats eyes change color. Siamese have blue eyes their whole life!
Kate on August 23, 2016:
Hi,I have been looking after a kitten that was abandoned. I have had her for a week now so I believe that she is close to three weeks because her eyes were open when she was found. She always wants to be held. lately I have noticed that she runs into things, and only responds to sound. For example if a stand right in front of her she wont come but if I talk or tap my feet she comes running in the direction of the sound. I have waved my hand in front of her and she wont blink like all my other cats/kittens. How can I be sure if she is blind? Also, she is not white, but a tabby.
jfurrylover on August 14, 2016:
8 weeks old I have an all white kitty blued eyed I have 8 furries all together doggies and cats but I heard if u hv a white kitten with blue eyes changes are high to being deaf or blind :( is this true and how do I tell if he already is or not
little salamander on May 17, 2016:
I love jesseica
Jia yin on May 17, 2016:
today wen't to my mum's friend s house and I saw a black kitty. I LOVE IT because it is fluffy and cute and aso CUTE
Jia feng on May 17, 2016:
I have a friend that has a kitten and iv'e just came to her house the kitten is called Max he is so CUTE I love him p.s he's so FLUFY ;]
jia yin on May 17, 2016:
why are kittens differents colours
jia feng on May 17, 2016:
why are kittens so playful/plz anser this questions.
Angel on April 27, 2016:
Hi, a friend found a kitten in weeds behind their home. We can not find the mother, we can get kitten to eat some wet food but not to drink. Any suggestions?
^^ on July 18, 2015:
The kitten I'm about to adopt has black panther coloring, where it looks black but is actually reddish brown with black stripes. The little tyke has the most iridescent blue eyes I have ever seen- the whole litter does.
They are a mixed breed, and many on the males were strays.
I know they do have some Himalayan, and their great, great some-odd grandfather was stark white. I'm crossing my fingers that this kit will keep his(or her) eye color. Thinking of naming him Bagheera.
Hannah on July 10, 2015:
My family just got this beautiful Calico kitten with bright blue eyes!!! Her name is Emmie, and loves people! She isn't afraid of loud noises, and is such a cuddle bug! Only our 1 yr old male (neutered) cat, Zeus does not like the "New Addition" one bit. He doesn't like our pup Tank, either. I would appreciate some advice on how to teach Zeus that " Sorry, your gonna be living with them your whole life!" Thank you!
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on June 30, 2014:
Tish: So glad your new kitten's bathroom habits are getting better! I'm sure she will only improve as she gets older. Take care!
Tish on June 28, 2014:
Thank you she is doing a lot better today with litter she goes to the litter most of the time and is pottying in it mostly every few times she will potty right outside of the litter but for most times she is now using it.
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on June 28, 2014:
Hi Tish! First of all...THANK YOU for taking in an abandoned kitten. I've helped many abandoned/stray cats and kittens over the years so I know what you are dealing with! A few years ago I cared for five kittens and none of them understood how to use the litter box. Be patient...most kittens (if not all) eventually "get it."
For my tough cases, I bought a special litter called "Cat Attract." For some reason...cats and kittens love this litter and I will admit that it works! Whenever I have a cat that does not want to go in the box....I pull out the Cat Attract Litter. I guess it has a scent that cats like. It is expensive...so I usually mix it in with a cheaper litter.
Another thing you can do is put some cat poop/ pee in the litter box and then show the kitten. I know...it is gross to pick up old poop....but hey...if you have to clean it up anyway....might as well throw it in the litter box and teach kitty a lesson on where to go! I've even gone so far as to take the kitten's little paw and scoop litter over the poop. Many kittens that are abandoned early in life are never taught how to do basic cat behaviors...covering their waste would be one example. I hope these little tricks work. Here is some more info that may help:
Tish on June 27, 2014:
So yesterday I was finally able to get the wild young abandoned kitten from our neighborhood to come in our house of course by me hiding behind the door. I've been working with her she is a big sweetie loves attention and giving kisses, which is a big change from her biting and clawing me yesterday but of course she is still a little scared when reaching to pick her up. My question is what is quickest way to litter train I've put her in to sniff box but she keeps running to corners to pee and poop. This last time when she started peeing I picked her up and placed her in the litter and she finished peeing in the box. But any other tips to train her?
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on September 02, 2013:
Hi Debbie...Thank you for your comment. Do you know of an animal rescue group in your area that you can call to come and get the kittens? Kittens are usually adopted out very easily (people can't resist cause they are so darn cute!!). If you don't know of an animal rescue group then simply google cat rescue (and the area in which you live) and see what comes up. Then....start sending emails to the various groups and see if they will help with the kittens. It is important that they are caught rather early so they can be socialized and SPAYED OR NEUTERED!!! If you don't have these kittens "fixed" you will have MANY more kittens soon. Good luck and let me know if you need help finding a rescue group.
Debbie on September 01, 2013:
a stray cat had kittens under our front porch.its about 4 in.opening.we never knew this until we came home one day and there were 6 babies laying on ground in front of the opening enjoying the sunshine.2 of them come out all the time.we haven't bothered them.what should we do.we cant have them.
Sabrina on May 05, 2013:
My sisters cat had 5 kittens 4 weeks ago. The mom had to be put to sleep. I got one of the kittens and I have fell in love with him. I rub his bottom with a warm rag to get him to pee but I can't get him to poop. What can I do?
karen on September 30, 2012:
my cat had four lovely kittens five weeks ago.two white girls one ginger boy and one ginger girl.the white ones and the ginger boy still have blue eyes.is it possible for a ginger to have blue eyes.they are sky blue and the ginger girls have turned green.
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on March 21, 2012:
Hi Deanna...thank you for your comment/question. It is not uncommon for older cats to lose their hearing. The ASPCA Website has a great article about this subject. Here is the link: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/deafness.as...
My cat is losing his hearing as well. I have to speak very loudly if I want him to hear me! Also..I try to get his attention before approaching him so that I don't scare him. Take a look at the ASPCA article...hope it helps!
Deanna on March 20, 2012:
I have a black cat with white markings and the most beautiful BLUE eyes. My children and i think she may have gone or is going deaf. she does not respond like she used to when we call her or even to loud noises. Is that normal?
7 Week Kitten on March 17, 2012:
I am going to be getting a kitten next week, he will be 7 weeks. The owner said he eats dry cat food and uses the litter box. Is it ok for me to take him? What can I do to make sure he is healthy and eating enough? Also, how often to feed him? Do I just keep his bowl full?
Amy on August 13, 2011:
There is a breed of cat called Ojos Azules that can produce a black cat with blue eyes. However, they are extremely rare and if you are lucky enough to find one the cost of the cat would be more than most can afford. The down side is that in order to produce these black haired, blue eyed kittens many die. They are born with many genetic flaws which is most likely the reason for the hefty price tag. I would love one of these cats, but I do not wish for so many kittens to die or have life long medical problems for eye color.
Callie on August 01, 2011:
The question: "My kitten's eyes are blue. Will they stay that way?" is a very interesting question.
White cats with blue eyes are usually blind or deaf. If they are born with blue eyes, they will stay blue-eyed. If they are born with blue eyes and turn green, then its still possible that they be blind, or deaf, but they might not be.
Take...an orange cat like mine for example. He has blue eyes now, but they are turning green. Orange cats usually have green or amber (gold) eyes. It is unusual for cats of any color but white to have blue eyes.
Black cats cannot have blue eyes, think about it. Have you ever seen a black cat with blue eyes before? Or a gray cat?
Sorry this was long, but I hope it helps.
Lapel Animal Clinic Vet (Dr. Vicki)
~Complain and Remain, Praise and Raise. Focus on the Good~
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on November 05, 2010:
Hi Laura..thank you for your question! It is best for a kitten to stay with their mom for at least nine or ten weeks...however, with that being said, if the kitten is eating solid food and drinking water...it sould be ok. When my foster cat had kittens, one of them was adopted at 7 or 8 weeks of age and she is doing fine! If I were you, I would pay close attention to the kitten for the first few weeks that it is away from mom. Make sure that the kitten is eating and drinking! It is also important to make sure that the kitten is kept warm! If you have any questions or experience any problems...contact a vet. Eventually you will have to take your kitten to the vet to get shots and possibly dewormed. Good luck and congrats on your new addition.
Laura on November 05, 2010:
A friend of mine's cat recently had kittens, probably about 6 or 7 weeks ago. Due to personal problems, my friend is unable to care for the mother cat and kittens. All cats and kittens have been spoken for, including the 6 week old kitten I have claimed. Is it irresponsible of me to bring the kitten home now, or do you think he would be alright? Apparently kitten is already trying solid food, and he is getting the hang of using the litter box. Just looking for an outside opinion, thanks!
kayleigh on June 14, 2010:
is it fair to adopt the kittens when they are old enough will the mum miss them.
vtek23 on April 07, 2010:
great post and pics, ty